Bill Johnson, a pro football coaching veteran that coached the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in both 2017 and 2018, has been named the defensive line coach at LSU, head coach Ed Orgeron announced on Aug. 17.
Johnson fills in for Dennis Johnson, who suffered severe injuries to both of his knees over the summer that requires him to be a wheelchair and unable to coach on the field. As a result, Johnson will spend the 2019 season as an analyst for the Tigers.
Johnson joins the LSU staff after serving as the defensive line coach for the Los Angeles Rams for the past two years where he helped the franchise reach the Super Bowl in February of 2019. Johnson’s NFL career spans 18 seasons with four organizations – Rams (2017-18), Saints (2009-16), Broncos (2007-08) and Falcons (2001-06).
While with the Rams, Johnson’s standout defensive lineman Aaron Donald was twice named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year. Donald was also the NFL’s sack leader in 2018 with a league-record 20.5 a year ago. In 2017, Donald became the first player in Rams history to earn NFL Defensive Player of the Year, becoming the first defensive tackle in the league to win the award since 1999.
Prior to joining the Rams, Johnson spent eight years with the New Orleans Saints where he was part of the franchise’s only Super Bowl win. Johnson coached the Saints defensive line, helping that group to numerous honors and records.
Under Johnson’s watch Cam Jordan (Saints), Rod Coleman (Falcons), and Patrick Kerney (Falcons) all earned All-Pro honors.
Prior to entering the NFL coaching ranks, Johnson spent over 20 years coaching the defensive line at the collegiate level, which included stops at Arkansas (2000, 1990-91), Texas A&M (1992-99), Louisiana Tech (1988-89), Miami (1987), McNeese State (1985-86) and Northwestern State (1980-84).
While at Miami in 1987, Johnson worked under College Football Hall of Famer Jimmy Johnson where the Hurricanes went 12-0 and claimed the national title that year.
Johnson is a 1980 graduate of Northwestern State, where he was a two-year starter at center for the Demons. Following his playing career from 1976-79, Johnson got his start in coaching with the Demons in 1980 as a graduate assistant.